According to the recently released report by KDHS, there are 98 new HIV/AIDS infections every week among adolescents aged 15 -19 years. Some are unaware when they contracted the virus, transmitting it to other adolescents. On 6TH JULY, we had an HIV/AIDS awareness session at Ndiru mixed secondary school in Seme, Kisumu County on our on-going HIV/AIDS awareness campaign. The session was successful as information on HIV prevention, treatment, and care was effectively communicated while actively involving 170 girls in discussions. We also donated 2 bales of sanitary towels to the guidance and counseling department.
The session began with an introduction to HIV/AIDS and its prevalence in the community. The facilitators emphasized the importance of prevention methods such as abstinence, condom use, and faithfulness in relationships. They then highlighted the significance of regular HIV testing to know one's status and seek appropriate treatment. The girls were engaged in interactive discussions, encouraging them to ask questions and share their knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Many of the girls showed a good understanding of the disease, but some misconceptions misguided them and this was addressed and corrected.
The session also focused on the risks that increase the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS among adolescents, such as drug and substance abuse i.e. the negative consequences of these behaviors and how they contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS. They emphasized the need for the participants to avoid such harmful practices and instead engage in positive activities that promote their overall well-being. Treatment and adherence to drugs were other important topics covered during the session. The facilitators explained the different types of antiretroviral therapy (ART) available and stressed the importance of taking medications as prescribed to maintain good health. They also discussed the concept of opportunistic diseases and how they affect individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
In addition, students were then educated about sexual abuse, including different types of sexual abuse e.g unwanted touching, rape or attempted rape, sexual exploitation, verbal or visual harassment, grooming, and molestation. Perpetrators: People who can abuse students including individuals known to them (family members, friends, or acquaintances), as well as strangers. What to do in case they are molested and reporting procedures. We then briefly educated the girls on menstrual hygiene: managing their first period, capturing blood, disposing of used sanitary towels, keeping clean during menstruation, and managing cramps.
The objectives for the sessions were met as students were able to identify risky behaviors, understand prevention measures, and gained more understanding of the disease e.g. preventing stigma & treatment, differentiating myths, and the true information about HIV/AIDS. The girls later received sanitary towels.